"Toccata" by Margaret Emma Brandl

“Toccata” by Margaret Emma Brandl

A pink flower is a poem. When I am in this space I am a poem. When we are in this whirring space everything you say is a poem and the table is a poem and the carpet is a poem of circles and I am reading it. My water bottle is a poem and that’s not an inside joke except now it is. When I write I am insincere like a poem. I am stark and simple and I won’t say most things, and I smile and I say stupid things and I wear a pearl necklace for no one but me. When I write I get a chill from the heat and I remember the curved orange mug, soft stripes, softness in contrast to the hardness of flat webpage photographs. I know two different people and one of them is not real. I know one person who is not real and I have met one person who is. Maybe one day I will know the person who is real, bonfire glow, star sky, star mote, we are all just star motes. Star motes that drop from these dark skies.

William Blake and William Blake and William Blake. Two trees trying to be taller than each other. Lanky long trees, pale bark, burnt leaves in dim fall light. Two trees trying to be taller than each other that can be utterly still. And was Jerusalem builded here upon these two trees. And was the door left unlocked this time. And was the coffee hot. And were you ready.

I might have remembered you the time I was buying socks. I have a friend who lives in Ukraine. Books are sewed up with cotton thread, waxed tight, take the wedge and punch holes, in and out middle, top, bottom, middle. Fray the ends with the needle, bump into the dog, eat a piece of pizza and go home in the cold to the wood and stone church. All our yearning in this small heated room. White pages and scribbles. I’m waiting for this thing to work but it’s not plugged in. How do you do it.

Would you understand the words to songs if I sang them. You know some people can’t. The words all run together in their heads like spaghetti soup. They can’t compartmentalize, they only have one kind of coffee. It’s just coffee. Do you sit with your window open and watch people walk outside. Do you keep all your smiles for yourself.

We all stand up. I am surprised by kind eyes. I have met one person that I do not know. Those honest eyes stick in my mind. All you saw was my panic. All you saw was my necklace.


Margaret Brandl is a first-year Creative Writing MFA student in prose at the University of Notre Dame. She has been published in various undergrad publications, and recently had a poem in Phantom Kangaroo.